Participate in workshops that interest you
Finding a workshop on something that you love can be tricky. That is why if you find one, go for it. Explore your passion and figure out what are the steps to get where you want to go in the near future. From 21th to 23th of June I participated at CIILE, International Colloquium on Foreign Languages. For me, as a student of Spanish Philology, it was like a dream come true and I would love to show you why a “simple” 3-days colloquium can make a big difference.
Why was it so important for me?
As I have already mentioned, I’ve been studying Spanish Philology at the University of Granada for three years now. The most of the time, this kind of language-literature degrees tend to put more attention to the literature part of the degree and it might be hard to find some high-level linguistics workshops/courses. The reason why that happens is that usually, student’s are not really into linguistics research. The majority of them tend to be more interested in literature, so organizing anything related to language is not always worth the effort.
What if you still want to do it?
I’ve always wanted to do a linguistics research since I entered the university. However, as I’ve already mentioned, there are not as many opportunities as I thought there would be. It’s extremely hard to find any event related to language or linguistics which would not be just a foreign language course. Almost nothing related to research. However, I decided I wasn’t going to give up. I started to sign up for smaller courses or just spoke to my professors.
However, I did not feel satisfied. But then one of my classmates sent me a link to CIILE in case I was interested. It wasn’t free, I had to pay for the registration, but it was absolutely worth it. After CIILE I realized there IS a group of people researching in the area I’m interested in and it’s actually much bigger than I thought it would be. I just did not have the right information, but, hopefully, CIILE has shown me the missing piece.
5 steps to follow
If you are in the same situation as I am (want to research in an area which is not very popular for research or is not well known enough), I have some basic steps you can follow at the very beginning of your career:
- Be patient. You might have a lot fewer opportunities than other people. They might be harder to find, but there still will be some of them. It just takes more to find them.
- Sometimes you will have to push your university a little bit. Find other people that are interested in the same thing as you are and show your professors your interests. You can also offer your help in case they decide to organize some event.
- You should always be aware of one thing: the fewer students are interested in some area, the harder it will be to find useful information, contacts, workshops or courses. But the harder it is, the more people will drop out of the way. You have to encourage yourself to hold on until the end.
- As I’ve already mentioned, It might be harder to find useful information. I recommend asking your professors where should you be searching for more information. Don’t try to figure it out on your own. Ask for help.
- Sign up for everything you can. Sometimes it might be a minor event, something really small or insignificant. But it is important to always be there when something’s happening. You don’t have the privilege to choose from a variety of activities and even the smallest event can bring you a lot of useful information or contacts.
This is just a little piece of advice but I’m sure it can be helpful. Sometimes it may seem like it is you against the world, but you should be aware that there is always an option. And if there’s not, you can create one. This is the best thing about being interested in something underestimated or unknown.
Even the smallest thing can be turned into something big if you know how to do it. It just requires hard work and dedication.